CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to the technology, primarily software, used for managing and supporting customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle. Cloud technology has enabled CRM vendors to deliver comprehensive cloud-based CRM software solutions that utilize the internet’s power as a unified business platform.

Choosing a CRM for a small business can feel overwhelming because many companies offer different price tiers, subscription services, features, and third-party add-ons. Our guide to CRM selection ensures you’re asking the appropriate questions and following the right process to find the most suited CRM for your company. We’ll outline everything you need to consider and know before purchasing a CRM, so you make the right choice the first time.

Why You Need a CRM for Your Business

A CRM for service providers manages all aspects of the customer lifecycle for seamless workflows and relationship building. It centralizes customer information and interactions, automating common tasks and optimizing business functions.

B2C CRM software transforms customer data into useful, actionable insights that increase sales and boost revenue. This integrated cloud-based software is accessible on any connected device, making it easy to achieve collective business goals, wherever you are.

What to Look for in a CRM System?

If you wonder, “What CRM is best for me?” you’ve come to the right place. What makes a good CRM system is the ability to exemplify the following; scalability, industry-standard customization tools, ease of end-user configurability, system extensibility, and workflow simplification.

You should always choose a CRM system that is flexible and able to evolve with your business. In a nutshell, a CRM is supposed to provide a comprehensive overview of customer relationship management and make the job easier.

How to Choose a CRM System: Which Is the Right Fit for Your Business?

Choosing the right CRM is reliant on understanding your business needs, weaknesses, and strengths. Once you know what you’re looking to improve with a CRM system, you’ll need to spend time researching the different kinds and demo testing them. It’s easy to become swayed with the options available, so as you go about your CRM selection process, keep in mind what workflows you’re hoping to streamline.

#1: Know Your Business Requirements

A company’s needs and priorities determine CRM selection. Evaluating vendors and testing different functionality of CRM is useful, but should only be done once a business understands the challenges they’re attempting to solve.

B2C CRM software tracks customer lifecycle, improves communication and connectivity, manages relationships, organizes operations, and increases productivity. It’s useful to think about the following before exploring software options;

  • Where are business processes the most inefficient?
  • Are additional workflows needed to streamline operations?
  • Who in the company will use CRM? Just the managers or the entire team?
  • Does the CRM system need to be integrated with other software?
  • What is the maximum budget you can afford to spend?

A CRM system will certainly aid business success, but only if there is clarity around short and long-term goals. Businesses won’t be able to leverage the many benefits a CRM has to offer without having clear objectives.

#2: Explore Different Types of CRM

While all CRM software broadly accomplishes the same goals, the nuances in features, focus, and capabilities are typically classified into different types, which affects choosing the right CRM.

Collaborative CRM Systems

These provide all teams across different departments access to the same data to simplify workflows, processes, structures, and hierarchies. Collaborative CRM systems automate back-office operations and customer interactions, proffering transparency.

Operational CRM Systems

Operational CRM systems offer a comprehensive approach to customer satisfaction and retention. This includes lead generation, customer retention, needs analysis, and strategy development designed to provide value for and take care of customers.

Analytical CRM Systems

Like the name suggests, analytical CRMS process data gathered from businesses to extract actionable insights that optimize business. With metrics gained, companies can evaluate customer behavior and forecast their purchase intention.

#3: Go Over the Software Features

Choosing a CRM for small business should always factor in how user-friendly the interface and its applications are. CRMs are often used among multiple company members, so the easier the onboarding process is, the better. Here are common features to include in a CRM software evaluation checklist:

  • Sales cycle analysis
  • Integration into back-office systems
  • Scalability to accommodate future business growth
  • Flexible licensing options
  • Easy flow of information for remote employees
  • Real-time responding and analytics
  • Seamless customization with current systems

When evaluating CRMs, it's useful to establish a scoring system based on your business’s core needs and not a vendor’s capabilities. That will prevent you from being persuaded by features you may not need. It’s also helpful to interview as many vendors as possible before narrowing down a few to request demos from.

#4: Consider the Cost

CRMs are business investments; spending too little may result in an inadequate system that doesn't serve business needs, while overspending can result in underutilization and money wasted. Costs typically fall into two categories;

  • Renewal fees: Usually a yearly fee to maintain software license
  • Additional licenses: The cost to add additional users
  • Third-party plug-ins: Software that’s compatible with a CRM, but is purchased separately

Companies may also be charged for data transfer, consultation, integration, training, and customization in addition to the cost of purchasing the software. Affordable CRM software for small business doesn’t always require all the bells and whistles; it simply needs to match business goals. How much does CRM software cost? It really depends on the type and the package.

#5: Learn More About the Vendor

Selecting a CRM system is like developing a partnership because it plays an integral part in business operations. As a prerequisite, vendors need to be dependable with customer support and technical assistance.

  • Is the company respected in the software industry?
  • Does it have a robust track record?
  • Do businesses vouch for it?
  • Does the company update its features and offerings?
  • Do they sell other e-business applications that integrate or complement their CRM system?

Suppose a software company offers a line of e-business products or suites. In that case, it’s a good indication that they’re committed to their product and customer growth, so you should be able to update their software for many years.

#6: Request a Demo and Test It Out

Once you’ve narrowed your potential CRM software selection, you’ll want to trial each one’s functionality. Industry-leading vendors will usually offer full-featured trials, so potential clients can test capabilities without any strings attached. Make sure the software fulfills your basic requirements and assess its value-added features.

CRM for service providers should be scalable and easy to upgrade as business needs change. Make sure you know which features and functionality you require immediately, and which can be purchased at a later stage. Take note of how many clicks it takes to conduct a basic action and how easy it is to access the features you need.

CRM Software Evaluation Checklist

A CRM should provide you with a dashboard of everything happening in your company where you can view completed tasks, pending activities, and any other data valuable to your business operations. Look for a CRM with customized reporting features where you can see how employees are performing, and customers are responding. It’s particularly useful if you need to export reports to company stakeholders, so they can review data.

Regardless of the type of CRM software you select, it should provide your business with the following basic functionality:

  • Sales automation and lead management: Segments lead generation with automated filters before alerting sales teams to warm leads.
  • Integration with current systems, apps, and software: Easily integrates with email, invoicing, and other marketing tools.
  • Employee management and workflow automation: Seamless experience for the entire team, improving communication and productivity.
  • Affordability and scalability: Options to improve packages and to scale according to business needs.
  • Database management: Stores data for businesses to predict growth and streamline operations.
  • Mobile access and support: Allows staff to do their job on any device, whether out on the field or at the office.
  • Contact management: Stores customer history and contact details in a central hub that’s easy to segment and manage.
  • Cloud-based storage: Equipped with synchronization capabilities for easy access and encryption for maximum security.
  • Business intelligence and reporting: Accurately monitors and measures customer service factors to enable better customer retention and satisfaction.
  • Marketing and campaign management: Links specific marketing campaigns to revenue spent to measure ROI.

How Does Make a Difference? combines cutting edge-technology with practical usability to help businesses grow. From lead generation to source tracking and marketing management — we’ve got you covered!

1.Lead Capture provides a centralized database that integrates with your existing website, so you’ll have access to relevant data to qualify leads without double entries, saving you time and maintaining data integrity.

2.Lead Distribution

You can automatically distribute leads to franchises based on zip codes owned by locations. We know the first business to connect usually wins the deal. Instant notifications ensure you’ll never miss an opportunity to follow up with potential customers.

3.Lead Source Tracking

Get real-time KPI data across all your campaign regions, making it easier for your marketing team to manage campaign performance. automatically tags leads in marketing campaigns to track conversion rates.

4.Marketing Campaigns

Run comprehensive brand-level marketing campaigns across locations, increasing touchpoints that lead to conversion. Additionally, you can easily determine what channels provide the best conversion rates, enabling a more focussed and responsive marketing methods.

5.Interactive Mapping

With user-friendly and interactive map segmentation, you can group customers according to geographical zones and have a birds-eye view of nearby prospects, providing a visual representation of ROI.

6.Integrated App

What makes a good CRM system? One with a future-proof app that’s available on IOS and Android. Ours stays connected, provides faster performance, has easy camera integrations and efficient location tracking to increase field technician accountability.

7.Proposal Management

Develop interactive proposals that can be edited in real-time and allow prospects to select service options, payment plans, review photos and approve quotes. Upselling the average ticket has never been easier.

8.Increased Sales Performance

Real-time revenue tracking allows a quick response to marketing strategies that improve profitability. In contrast, closing rate tracking helps businesses make sure poor performers get the skills and training they need to succeed.

9.Enhanced Customer Experience

Live tracking and en-route notifications via text, email, or voice call lets customers see where they are in the service list with technicians. Increased communication improves customer satisfaction and leads to returning customers and brand advocates.

10.Franchisee Training

A consistent all-in-one platform allows for streamlined training and workflow instead of using multiple third-party systems. Customizable templates can be sent to all training locations, ensuring consistency across franchises.


Our software integrates with a growing list of apps like; Signpost, Listen 360, Chatmeter, QuickBooks, Google Calendar, Infusionsoft, ReputationLoop, and more. We already talk to the tools you use, so onboarding is easier.

12.Optimized Scheduling

An optimized scheduling engine ensures schedules are efficient, and appointments are grouped together based on drive times and locations. That way, field technicians get to service more clients during work hours.

13.Attract New Franchisees

Onboard new franchisees seamlessly with an all-one software platform designed to streamline operations and business scalability. With, everyone has access to better data and runs things the same way.


Beyond the basics of convenience and streamlining business goals, what to look for in a CRM depends on your business needs. Your CRM solutions should improve customer services, up-sell, and cross-sell more effectively while optimizing business workflow. If you’re shopping around for a CRM, you should take a look at We have one mission in mind; to ultimately help businesses close more deals. Whether you’re a franchisor or small business owner, we provide the tools you need to deliver the best customer experience. Click here to book a demo!